U.P. Region Has Plenty of Assets to Attract Businesses and Developers

Posted by on April 9, 2018

MARQUETTE – While you are familiar with the Lake Superior Community Partnership and our economic development efforts in Marquette County, you may not realize that there are similar organizations across the Upper Peninsula that serve the same purpose in their communities. You may surmise that we fight for projects and protect our turf, but we actually do quite the opposite.

Local economic development organizations, our state department representatives (e.g. MDOT, MEDC, MDARD, DNR, etc.) and various stakeholders meet on a monthly basis under the name Upper Peninsula Collaborative Development Council (UPCDC). We talk about current projects, new initiatives, challenges we are facing and other economic development-related topics. The time together has strengthened existing partnerships and built new relationships, and inspired collaborative projects across the U.P.’s jurisdiction.

Recently, the UPCDC worked on a joint project that is focused on marketing the U.P. to developers and site selectors. The point is to focus on U.P.-wide assets that make it easy for them to consider doing business here. Once they have our region on their radar, their business needs will drive where they locate within the U.P.

The theme we used for the piece was “Michigan’s Upper Peninsula — The Purest of Michigan.”

Talent is currently a top concern for a majority of the businesses we engage with. Whether you need a cashier or a physician, it is a tight labor market and finding employees with the required skills can be difficult. However, here are some encouraging facts about the U.P. workforce and our pipeline of talent:

≤ Four universities and four community colleges

≤ Over 58,000 working in STEM jobs

≤ Available labor force of 9,270

≤ Over 23,000 enrolled in college

≤ 55 percent of population between ages of 18-64

≤ Median age is 39

How about our quality of life? Think about it this way:

≤ 18 minutes average commute time

≤ Three Great Lakes

≤ Eight ski hills

≤ Three national parks

≤ 1,700 miles of shoreline

≤ 55 golf courses

≤ Over 2,500 miles of recreational trails

In economic development, the ability to move people and product is critical. What can we provide across the U.P.?

≤ Six commercial airports

≤ 23 private airports

≤ 766 miles of rail

≤ Six deep-water ports

≤ Two-day ground transportation to each coast

And last, but certainly not least, what support programs, services and organizations do we have to assist businesses in their journey? Aside from the Lake Superior Community Partnership and other economic development organizations who are poised to provide business services, there are many other types of support:

≤ Three Michigan SmartZones

≤ Six business incubators

≤ Michigan Economic Development Corporation

≤ Federal programming and resources

≤ More than 50 industrial parks encompassing 844,000 acres of land for development

≤ Variety of local, state and federal incentives

If these assets don’t entice businesses and developers to consider the Upper Peninsula for their next project, I don’t know what will!

Have any questions? Looking to start or buy a business? Know companies interested in relocating? How about expansion? Facing any new challenges or opportunities? Give our Business Development team a call and let us assist.

Call us today at 906-226-6591.

Amy Clickner, CEO, writes a bi-weekly column for the Mining Journal.